Coua delalandei (Temminck)

Delalande’s Coua; Snail-eating Coua (Coua delalandei)

The genus Coua consists of 11 species including severeal subspecies. All of them without exception live in Madagascar. The German name ‘Seidenkuckuck’ (silk cuckoo) relates to their plumage, which indeed shows a very fine, silky gloss.  

Delalande’s Coua, with a full length of about 60 cm, was the largest member of its genus surviving into historical times. It lived in the dense rain forests of the island of Nosy Boraha (Île Saint Marie) offshore Madagascar’s northeast coast.  

Unfortunately there is not much known about the live of this species. It is known however, that it stayed on the forest floor most of the time and that its preffered food were snails. Actually the Malagasy name ‘Famakisifotra’ translated into English means something like ‘snail crusher’.  

The main reason for the extinction of this species is supposed to have been the hunting by the native people, who caught the birds mainly because of their beuatiful feathers.  

The last sighting of this beautiful species happened in the year 1834.



[1] Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986 
[2] Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987


Depiction from ‘Alfred Grandidier: Histoire Physique, Naturelle es Politique de Madagascar. Paris: à l’imprimerie Nationale 1876’  

(public domain)


edited: 27.11.2018